A stroke is a life-changing event that can affect your emotional well-being as much as your physical function. Feelings of helplessness, frustration and depression are not unusual. A lower sex drive and mood changes also are common.
Maintaining your self-esteem, connections to others and interest in the world are essential to your recovery. The following suggestions may help both you and your caregivers:
- Don't be hard on yourself. Physical and emotional recovery involves hard work and takes time. Aim for a “new normal” and celebrate every step in your progress. Make time for rest and relaxation.
- Get out of the house even if it is hard. Try not to be discouraged or self-conscious if you move slowly and need a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around. Getting out and about is good for you and will help in your recovery.
- Join a support group. Meeting with others who are coping with a stroke lets you get out and share experiences, exchange information and forge new friendships.
- Let friends and family know what you need. Your friends and family members may not know the types of help you need most. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to bring over a meal and stay to eat with you and talk, or help you get out for lunch, social events or church activities.
- Know that you are not alone. Nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year. About 6.5 million people are living with the effects of stroke today.